Experts on bank crisis will name and shame
THE two global banking experts conducting a preliminary inquiry into the origins of the Irish banking crisis have vowed to name and shame individual institutions -- but not individuals -- in a report to be completed by the end of May.
This will set the scene for the work of a statutory Commission of Inquiry later this year into the near-collapse of the system before the banking guarantee was introduced in September 2008.
German economist and former International Monetary Fund (IMF) senior official Klaus Regling and Max Watson, an ex-deputy director of the IMF, met with Finance Minister Brian Lenihan yesterday morning to discuss their terms of reference.
Appearing subsequently at an Oireachtas committee meeting, Mr Regling said the duo aimed to hit the ground running next week, initially meeting officials from the Central Bank, Financial Regulator, economic research institutions, trade unions and consumer groups.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting -- and before an engagement with the new Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan -- Mr Watson confirmed that the duo would be looking to talk to past and present bank executives in the coming weeks.
"We'll talk to whomever we think will help us in our inquiry," he said, confirming that the Minister intends to publish the report and its recommendations.
Mr Regling also told the committee that the co-authors would be calling on former finance ministers as they sought "to identify all the relevant issues that may be taken up by the commission of investigation in the second half of the year".
"This is an identification exercise -- a diagnostic exercise," he said. "We will identify wrong policy decisions, but will not get into names. I'm sure we'll identify some failures."
The experts will be looking to put Ireland's property-fuelled crisis into the context of the global turmoil that has been raging for the past two-and-a-half years.
"We will look at government policy, the macro-economic situation, the financial markets, banking supervision -- and including questions of corporate governance," said Mr Regling.
While he said the report might not be able to come up with definitive answers to all relevant questions, "at the minimum, we will identify all the relevant issues".
Special attention will also be given to the view of international bodies, such as the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the IMF and Bank for International Settlements, on Ireland's problems. Mr Watson added that the pair would also look to establish how "on the ball" both internal and external regulatory warnings were.